Palm Sunday & Holy Week: March 20-24
Reflection - Arlene Navarro

Suffering and Joy Jesus shows us how to bear suffering with love on the cross. So much so that his love radiates and changes people. Some immediately, some take time. You and I know people in our lives like this. Maybe you are the same way, without being heroic. Mysteriously, joy is also possible even when one is in the midst of suffering. It draws us closer to God.

Jesus has arrived in Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover. He is welcomed by crowds singing and praising him, “Hosanna! Hosanna!” Having just raised Lazarus from the dead, he is surrounded by people. Some are skeptics and some are followers. Nonetheless, his presence is met with great curiosity. We get to eavesdrop and watch how the story unfolds. At first, the disciples do not understand what is going on as the crowd cheers. But notice that – despite the fact that Jesus knows he is about to face the most disgraceful death on the cross – he meets curiosity with his presence in the flesh. He makes himself known to the people by being with them. He talks to them. He listens to them. The people are conscious of his presence in all of his very being. People find comfort and experience joy by being in his presence. Jesus, himself, experiences joy even in the midst of his own suffering.

In our culture today, suffering is often unearned and unwanted. It is never desired. Almost always, we want to change it but we can’t. We want it over and done with. Has it ever occurred to you that when you are caught in your own suffering, what might be the joy in the journey is being overlooked as you wait? What if we were invited to join in the suffering in order to foster the value of the kingdom?

If you are a follower of Jesus, or if you are exploring spiritual reality, we are called to be in solidarity with a wounded humanity living in a broken world. This may mean we live simply, we feed the hungry, comfort the lonely, shelter the homeless, care for the motherless child, invite the widow and help the oppressed. Suffering and joy always go hand in hand. You may have to look for it in the presence of Jesus. 

To read more Lenten reflections, visit our Lent/Easter page and download our Lent Prayerbook to follow along with us this season!